Report: BBC recommended subscription move

March 10, 2014 10.06 Europe/London By Julian Clover

BBC Broadcasting House: new newsroomMembers of an influential panel have suggested that the BBC scraps the licence fee and moves to a subscription service from 2020.

The Sunday Times reported that the 12 strong ‘centenary review panel’, established last summer by James Purnell, the BBC director of strategy and digital, was set-up to provide an outsiders’ view on the future of the BBC.

There is no indication as to how any subscription fee might be collected – plans to include a conditional access mechanism in DTT receivers were removed early into the process that established Freeview in 2002.

Members of the panel included Julian Le Grand, professor of social policy at the London School of Economics; David Elstein, the former Sky, ITV and Channel 5 executive; and Alice Enders, a media analyst.

The BBC is having to grapple with a five-year freeze in the Licence Fee and additional responsibilities such as the funding of the BBC World Service, previously the subject of a foreign office grant.